Skip to main content
7:00 pm
7:01 pm
>> a history of guerrilla warfare. the author posits that unconventional warfare often thought of as a modern means of war has a long tradition that dates back to antiquity. this is a little under an hour. >> everybody got quiet. good afternoon. welcome to the heritage foundation and to our elected by the was lerman auditorium. we welcome those who are joining a some of these occasions on our heritage website. for those and house as we prepare to begin, please make sure cell phones had been turned off. it is a courtesy that the speakers to appreciate. we will oppose the program within 24 hours on our heritage home page for your further reference as well. hosting our event today is steven bougie. director of r. douglass and sarah alice and center for policy studies. he previously served as senior research fellow for defense. the homeland security. he is well versed in the special
7:02 pm
area operations and cyber security areas as well as defense support to civil authority. he served for three decades as an army special forces officer in top pentagon official. in july 2001 he assumed the duties of military assistant to secretary rumsfeld and work daily with the secretary for the next five and a half years. upon retirement from the army continued at the pentagon as deputy assistant secretary of defense homeland defense and american security affairs. please join me in welcoming steve. [applause] >> let me add my welcome to all of you. i think we're going to have a real treat this morning. as john mentioned, i am a special forces officer by profession. so this area is near and dear to my heart. this is kind of what we do or did. it'll let me do it anymore. [laughter] i mentioned to max when he came in a little historical artifact
7:03 pm
in that when i was a cadet at west point i bought a book that had just been published. a two volume set. it was called war in the shadows , the guerrilla in history by robert aspirate. that book from 1975 until now really has been the sort of a benchmark for this kind of historical review of this subject area. that is a long time for a book tour keep that sort of position. well, with apologies, i think his book is being replaced not. max has done that. with this book which is on sale outside, invisible armies, he, i think, has set the new benchmark for the subject area. his book is very, very comprehensive.
7:04 pm
it is somewhat chronological, but not entirely. it is somewhat regional, but not entirely, and it is somewhat not functional is the right word, but topical, but not entirely. that sounds like it is not organized well. i don't want to give you that impression. it works very well. it flows well. max is a really, really fine writer. and i say that from the standpoint of a reader. it is very easy to read in the way that sometimes historical works are not. so i would recommend it highly. we are going to do this morning is, when i get done introducing him, max is going to give some opening remarks. and we're going to open up to questions and answers. when he is done with his prepared remarks i will come back up and play moderator. i will tell you now, when you ask a question i would like you to stand up and identify yourself briefly. if by the end of the second
7:05 pm
sentence i don't hear? and going to ask you to sit down very politely because the object of this exercise is for you to ask questions and trough from max's knowledge and from the information he presents about the book, not to give a speech. if you want to give a speech come see me afterwards and we will see what we can arrange committed to your own program. but that is where we're going this morning. for those of you that don't know, max is one of america's leading historians in military history and one of our best historical writers. he is presently that jeane j. kilpatrick senior fellow for national security studies at the council on foreign relations. he continues to write extensively in the weekly standard, the los angeles times. he is a regular contributor to the new york times, the wall street journal. he has been an editor and a journalist for the "wall street
7:06 pm
journal" for christian science monitor. he has written two other major books in the past that are of interest to me. the savage wars of peace, small wars and the rise of american power, and war made new, technology, warfare, and the course of history 1500 debt today. next to mr. wright really big bucks. and this morning he is going to talk to us about his latest invisible armies. a turnover you. [applause] >> thank you very much for that warm and generous introduction. thank you also for your many decades of service. indeed, i see a lot of folks here who are either on active duty or retired military, and i think all of you for your years of service to the nation. what i am here to talk about
7:07 pm
today is the contents of my new book, which, as steve mentioned, is a history of guerrilla warfare. although it may seem daunting at first glance, i did try to tell a good story by encapsulating five dozen years of guerrilla warfare history into one book. that may seem like a formidable undertaking, but here today in front of your very eyes i'm going to do something that i think is even harder. i'm going to try to encapsulate the entire book into about a 25 minute talk. so that is going to work out to about 200 years permanent. fasten your seatbelts. were going to go for a little historical journey here. what i'm going to do is first talk about the origins of guerrilla warfare, then i'm going to talk about how to counter guerrilla warfare. finally, going to conclude about why it is incredibly important that we figure out how to counter guerrilla warfare. the question that i most often asked when i tell people to have been writing a book on the
7:08 pm
history of guerrilla warfare is what is the first guerrilla war? the answer is, guerrilla warfare is as old as mankind itself. it is impossible the say when the first guerrilla war took place because that is essentially a tribal war. tribal warriors going back to the dawn of mankind have been fighting with hit and run tactics, staging ambushes, attacking in the villages and fleeing before the main force of the enemy can arrive. they don't stand toe to toe and slug it out at the enemy in the way that greek people would work the way we imagine conventional armies should. in essence tribal warriors have been taking part in guerrilla warfare for countless years. by contrast, counterinsurgency warfare and conventional warfare are both relatively recent inventions. only made possible by the rise of the first city-state's in mesopotamia about five dozen years ago. by definition you could not have a conventional army without.
7:09 pm
until you have states had no conventional armies which had officers and enlisted ranks and bureaucracy and logistics' and all these other things we associate with conventional armed forces. guess what? as soon as you have the very first city-state's in mesopotamia there were immediately being attacked by nomads from the persian highlands, essentially a religious. and so from the very start organized militaries have always spent a lot of their time fighting unconventional your regular warfare. you know what, those terms don't make a heck of a lot of sense. that is one of the big takeaways that i have from doing six years of reading and research for this book. the way we think about this entire subject is all messed up. we think that somehow conventional warfare is the norm, that the way you want to fight is how these conventional armies slug it out in the open. the reality is, those have always been the exception. just think about the more modern
7:10 pm
world. what was the last conventual what we saw? this is a hard question to answer because, in fact, it was the russian invasion of georgia in 2008 which did not last long. yet all over the world today there are people dying in war, whether afghanistan or molly or syria or a condo or meehan r or colombia or many other countries all these people are victims being ravaged by unconventional warfare. but the term, as i say, is off because this is, in fact, the norm. we have to adjust their thinking of a part thinking 360 degrees and understand that unconventional warfare is the dominant face of warfare, always has been, always will be. every great power throughout history, every great general, including the generals of antiquity, had to do with the threat of unconventional warfare , including, of course, the greatest army of all, the roman legions. a pretty formidable force, even when they were not led by russell crowe.
7:11 pm
they bested every power in their neighborhood. rome, as we also know, was ultimately brought down, sacked in the fifth century. and what was responsible for the downfall of room? well, rome was much like the united states in that it did not have great power rivals. it was not surrounded by great states other than the party or person empire. ultimately it was basically surrounded by those that are labeled as barbarians. how did the barbarians by? well, they did that help organize the fourth jury. it did not have centurions. it did not have all the infrastructure of the roman legion. they fought in a very different style. yet ultimately they were successful. the fall of rome was precipitated by a fierce group of warriors known as the ones.
7:12 pm
truman historian left a very interesting imperceptive description of how they fought. he said, very quick in their operations of exceeding speed and fond of surprising their enemies. they suddenly dispersed and reunite after having inflicted vast loss upon the enemy scatter themselves over the plane in a regular formation, always avoiding an entrenchment. now, think about that description. that sounds a lot like guerrilla warfare to me. that is essentially what they were practicing under their formal leader. they were masters of guerrilla warfare such that even pushed the germanic tribes further west into the roman empire and led to the collapse of the greatest empire in antiquity. so in many ways there is truly nothing new under the sun about the threat posed by guerrillas. they have been around longer than civilization self. and the fact that the u.s. army, marine corps, and other modern
7:13 pm
military's including the french have to deal with the threat today is absolutely unsurprising but i don't mean to suggest that absolutely nothing has changed over the course of the last 5,000 years. there have, in fact, been some significant changes. the biggest one has to do with the power of public opinion and propaganda. and this was something that was demonstrated in our very own war of independence. now, when we think of the american war of independence we tend to think of battles lexington and concord where the yankees slithered on their bellies and shot at the red coats from behind trees and rocks in ways that the red cuts considered to be ungentlemanly and not quite cricket. now, these were, no doubt, effective tactics, but in the end what is striking to me about studying the american revolution is the extent to which it was decided not so much by what happened on the battlefield but what actually happened in the house of parliament, in the
7:14 pm
commons commanding lead. now, when you read conventional accounts, if i may use that word, of the american revolution , they usually conclude with the battle of yorktown in 1781 and which lord cornwallis surrendered about seven dozen trips to general washington, and there is no doubt this was a massive setback for the british war effort. but the fact remains that even surrender in seven dozen trips to washington, the british still had tens of thousands more troops in north america, and they could have some of tens of thousands more from other parts of the empire if they had decided to do so. but they were not able to do so because of the power of a new force and in search of warfare, a term that was all the point fatefully in 1776, the power of public opinion. now, if the founding fathers had been battling not the british empire, but the roman empire, i can assure you that the romans, no matter how many battlefield
7:15 pm
defeats they suffered, would have come back. george washington, the founders, would have been crucified quite literally. the fact that this did not happen is because of what happened in an institution that the romans did not have to worry about, at least not after the rise of the empire. that was the house of commons, parliament. in 17821 year after the year after the battle of yorktown there was a very close vote in the house of commons to discontinue offensive operations in north america. the vote was 234-215. it was a nail biter, but because lord north, the hardline prime minister who wanted to prosecute the war against the american rebels, he lost that vote and therefore he had to resign office. and lord rockingham and his legs and had committed to a policy of conciliation with there american brothers took office. and that, i would submit to you, was truly where the american revolution was one. that was something the founding
7:16 pm
fathers were very well aware of. they tried very hard to influence public opinion, not only in the american colonies, but also a great burden. when you think about documents such as thomas paine's common sense or our very own declaration of independence, as much as anything, these were propaganda weapons used against the british kaj and they had their impact of the course of several years long years of war, they wore down the british will to fight and ultimately resulted in this note to discontinue the war in north america. now, that is something new in warfare, something that was completely different. that was something that, you know, the huns and the romans did not have to worry about, the power of public opinion. all of a sudden, the rise of democracy or the spread of media , that becomes a major force. in fact, many others in the future would seek to emulate what the american rebels did, including some such as the viet
7:17 pm
cong or the iraqi or afghan insurgents who have tried to use the power of propaganda and public opinion against us. all these factors are especially important in the theories of one of the great and most influential purists of guerrilla warfare that there ever was, and he had a very different view of guerrilla warfare than that as practiced by the nomadic warriors doubled. he wrote an incredibly influential book in 1938 called on protracted warfare, which he wrote sitting in a cave in northern china after the long march working so intently that he did not notice that a fire from a candle was burning a hole in the sock. and what he emphasized, as he famously said among the people like water. the army is like fish. he said that it was essential to
7:18 pm
keep the close relationship. a guerrilla force had to be cognizant of winning the support of the public upon him and was operating. he gave instructions to his soldiers to be courteous and polite, to pay for all articles and establish the safe distance from people's houses. now, believe me, this was not something they worried about thousands of years before. their idea of public relations was simply killing as many people as they possibly could in as gruesome fashion is that possibly could. but now he understood that in this new-age you had to pay attention to public opinion, and that is something that has been incredibly influential ever since. it has especially influential, even more so with terrorist organizations because terrorism, as the anarchist said in the 19th century, is propaganda by the deed. even morning guerrilla warfare, terrorism is really about selling a public relations point. in fact, in latin, obviously the
7:19 pm
most famous terrorist of our age, went so far as to say that the media war is 90 percent of wheat. now, the very fact media has become so important, the very fact that public opinion has become so incredibly important puts a great power like the united states, especially a great democratic power like the united states at a disadvantage. you know, something very interesting comes out when you look at what has changed in guerrilla warfare. it is part of this book. we did a database of insurgency since 1775, which has included as an appendix to read what we found was that the when rate for insurgences gone up since 1945. prior to 1945 insurgence one about 20 percent of their worst. since 1945 there winning about
7:20 pm
40 percent of their worst. so the rate for insurgents has roughly doubled. what accounts for that? i would argue it is the power of public opinion and propaganda, the ability of even a relatively weak groups to bring down stronger adversaries by marshaling public opinion against them. that is something that all insurgence try to do these days, and sometimes very successfully. but their is a danger here, and we should not swing too far from one extreme to the other. we should not -- we should not underestimate the power of guerrillas, but nor should we overestimate the power of guerrillas and terrorist because they're not invincible, and i think there has been a fallacy in the tendency in the post-world war two era to focus on a handful of successes, the mouth and the coach human. while. these guerrillas are 10-foot tall super human spirit they cannot possibly be defeated. that is, in fact, not the case. if you go back to the figure i
7:21 pm
cited to you, even with their winning roughly 40 percent, that means they're losing 60%. the reality is, just as most business start-ups don't become an apple or microsoft, so most insurgent groups don't become the vietcong or the chinese red army. and to make that point, i would refer you to one of the most famous insurgents of all time, once used to adorn every dorm room wall in the world. he became a legend because of the success that he and fidel castro had in overthrowing the batista regime in cuba and the 1950's, a very impressive campaign, but it was made possible by the fact that batista had no legitimacy. he had lost the support of the entire society, and that is why castro with only a few hundred followers was able to overthrow the state that was defended by tens of thousands of soldiers to have american supply, aircraft, tanks, and all sorts of heavy armor.
7:22 pm
incredibly successful in cuba, but when he got a little cocky and decided to try to export the cuban revolution, it did not work out so well for him. what he tried to do in 1966 is he went to bolivia. what he discovered and bolivia was not a country with an unpopular dictator. what he discovered was a country that had a popularly elected president. he did for not have much success in trying to change the nature bolivian politics because he himself had no legitimacy because he came in as an outsider, originally this argentinian who became a cuban citizen coming in from the outside with a handful of followers. they did not even speak the languages of the local indians. in fact, his best friend when he was in bolivia. it is no surprise that by 1967 he was hunted down by these guys , the bolivian army rangers,
7:23 pm
trained by u.s. army special forces. this is how he wound up with his corpse being pope that by his enemies. so even this icon of revolution could be defeated and killed, then i don't want to hear anybody suggest that it is impossible to defeat any group of insurgents. you can do it. you just have to have the right strategy. well, the question is, what is the right strategy. there have been many different approaches, but essentially they come down to either what i would call a scorched-earth or what is often known today as population counterinsurgency or more popularly as hearts and minds. and there is kind of a controlled experiment that was unwittingly run by two of the great nations of europe, britain and france in the 1950's to show which of these approaches is more successful because britain and france were each fighting counterinsurgencies in different
7:24 pm
colonies on different sides of the world. the french were fighting in algeria from 1954 to 1962. the british were fighting in malaysia from 1948 to 1960. they adopted very different methods of fighting with the french exemplifying this court search for -- scorched earth approach. now, what is the scorched-earth approach mean in practice? well, we found out from the -- if you want to find out one good way of doing it is by simply renting this wonderful movie, the battle of algiers which i would recommend to anyone interested in what happened because it is actually accurate. what it depicts is what happened in 1957 when the french tried to break up and in certain cells in the city of years which was planting bombs that were killing civilians, and especially european civilians. what they did was they rounded up tens of thousands of muslim men in the casbah, the native
7:25 pm
quarter of years, and they sent them and for interrogation to find out what the new. and it had the interrogation process work? well, we know because of what happened to this sentiment who is not an algerian. he was french. he was actually a french jew who ran republican newspaper in algiers, and it was for this and that he was picked up by paratroopers from the tenth parachute division in 1957. he was taken to an interrogation center. now, we all know about medieval instruments of torture like iraq or the iron maiden. but he was to discover a newfangled, a modern instrument of torture known as that she's saying, which was french slang for this hand crank dynamo which has, as you can see, to clips. you attach the clips to the appendages of whoever you're interrogating. then you turn that crank. and the faster you turn the more
7:26 pm
electricity comes out. so what happens? well, he was taken to this interrogation center by the paratroopers. he was strapped, put on a wooden board, strapped in with leather straps, and he had initially the clips applied to his year and to his finger. and what he later wrote of his experiment was that a flash of lightning exploded next to my year and i felt my heart racing. i struggled, screaming. he did not give up the information that the paratroopers wanted. so then it took one of the club's offices here and attested to his penis he wrote that my body shook with nervous shocks getting stronger and intensity. this newspaper editor was tough. still the not give that the information. they dragged them off the table using his time. and after beating him savagely with their fists that tie into a
7:27 pm
board and subjected him to what the paratroopers called. [indiscernible] , french slang for a practice that we know as water boarding. and he said, i have the impression of drowning in a terrible agony of death itself, took possession of me. after this ordeal he was dragged , still naked, thrown into a cell on a mattress stuffed with barbwire and left to spend the night listening to the bus and the screams resonating around the interrogation center. now, that is a very tough approach to do it counterinsurgency. now, we sometimes hear the torture does not work. well, don't you believe it. however morally questionable or reprehensible it may be, it can be tactically effective. in fact, it was tactically effective for the french in the battle of algiers. within nine months they manage to get all the answers and
7:28 pm
leaders to read each other out. they rolled up the entire insurgent network. by the end of 1957, algiers was safe. you could argue in a tactical sense, and a tactical sense the french had won the battle of algiers. the problem was, the publicity that attended their practices. they could not keep secret the way they're retreating detainees. for example, some and extricable reason he was allowed to live. he wrote a book called the question which became a best seller in france. there were others who spilled the beans and a was happening in algeria, and that, huge public backlash, not only in france, but around the world. ultimately it was that public backlash that cost france the injury and more. by 1962 they had to grant the algerian independence. and so the tactics, the scorched-earth tactics which have been very effective tactic before then backfired and led to eventual defeat.
7:29 pm
now, on the other side of the world and virtually the same time the bridge were fighting their own counter insurgency. and the war effort they're starting in 1952 was led by this man, general sir gerald humbler who should not be confused with this man for whom he is a dead ringer. so this man, not this man, but this man was the british commander in malaysia. when he arrived in kuala lumpur in 1952, he found a deeply entrenched insurgency, much as in algeria a few years later. the one in malaysia was being waged by the milan races liberation army, one of many communist groups that were trying to take over in the postwar time. a dynamite trains. even killed the previous high commissioner. in fact, gerald templar drove from the airport in kuala lumpur in the very same rolls-royce in which his predecessor had been shot to death a few months
7:30 pm
before. that must've been a chilling experience. so it would have been very understandable if under those circumstances the general had resorted to an absolute savagery to try to terrorize the population into acquiescence. but that is not what he did because he understood the key to success was not terrorizing the population. it was securing the population. he went about it in a variety of ways. one of his most effective programs was setting up a were known as the villages because he understood that the heart of the communist appeal late among the chinese waters, roughly half a million of them, who were not citizens, who were outcasts, the fields to work, no real jobs, and there were a prime breeding ground for insurgency. and so what he did was relocate them to hundreds of these new villages where they would have fields to work, where they would have medical clinics, where they have schools and, oh, by the way, there would also have fences and armed guards around them to keep them away from the
7:31 pm
insurgents. essentially what he was doing was drawing up the scene which the insurgents. he was preventing the chinese squatters from continuing to support the insurgency. he did other things as well. for example, he said aircraft overfly insurgents held areas and to drop leaflets urging their surrender. another innovation was to actually have loudspeakers equipped to these aircraft so that they could call out individual insurgents by name and tell individuals to surrender by name. a priest of the tactic. general templar also ended this indiscriminate jumble bashing, sending large formations pressing for the jungle in search of insurgents, as the u.s. armed forces would later do in vietnam. instead what he did was to emphasize the gathering of intelligence. he placed the emphasis on expanding special branch, expanding actual intelligence and sending specially trained units with knowledge of where the insurgents were hiding to get their health.
7:32 pm
even imported headhunters from borneo to act as trackers. but ultimately the general knew that it all came back to the population. he is associated with two very famous sayings. he said, the shooting side of the business is only 25 percent of the trouble. the other 75 percent lies in getting the people of the country behind us. he also said, the answer lies not in pouring more troops into the jungles, but in the hearts and minds of the people. now, that is a very famous phrase which has become iconic and is often misunderstood by hearts and minds, he did not mean that we are simply going to hand out a lot of goodies to the people. what he meant was, we're going to control the people. first of all, it requires establishing security for the people, which he certainly did, but it also requires having some legitimacy to make the people acquiesce to what your security forces a doing. and the most powerful weapon in his arsenal was the promise of independence from the land because he told the people of milan that if you help us defeat
7:33 pm
the communist insurgency we will make you free. we will make you an independent nation, and that is exactly what he did. well, this was not something the french understood because to they were trying to fight for the continuation of the french colonial empire in algeria. not surprisingly, there were not a lot of algerians who were eager to fight for continued french rule. so he got it. the french didn't. he understood the importance of legitimacy in any kind of insurgency, and that is something which has also proven crucially important in recent years in places such as northern ireland or columbia. many of them have fallen pretty closely on the template public, combining security in the tough to create a winning formula that can blunt the appeal of insurgents. now, this is not just a matter of historical interest because, in fact, just as insurgency has
7:34 pm
always been the dominant form of warfare, it remains so today and is something that we have to worry about as the attack on our consulate in benghazi on september 11th of last year should remind us. this is not a threat to -- thread that is going away. in many ways it could get worse because one of the major trends of the last hundred or so years is that the firepower available to insurgence has been increasing. a century ago western armies battled insurgents who had nothing more than a few westie muskets and effusive year -- spears and bows and arrows. today there is no corner of the world so remote that every inhabitant does not have access to an ak-47, rocket-propelled grenades, explosives, very, very hard to deal with, even though they're pretty basic infantry weapons. what is the future of the? well, unfortunately we have to contemplate the possibility that insurgents could ultimately get their hands on weapons of mass destruction.
7:35 pm
alas, we may not have george clooney around to save us. now, i don't mean to be overly alarmist here, but this is something that we have to think about seriously. what would happen if and surgeons to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction? this is a matter that comes from a magazine and ensure all of you are avid readers of of the international journal of health. what that meant demonstrates is what would happen if a 20-kiloton nuclear device were to go off in downtown manhattan. now, a 20 kelli ton device is, i'm sure many of you know, is not a very big bomb, about the same size as the one fund nagasaki, and that was a long time ago. the arsenals of the united states and russia are full of many, many, many nuclear weapons many, many times. but this is a very weapon ready newt of the kind that it would not be hard for the iranians of the north koreans are the pakistans or others to design.
7:36 pm
so what would happen if one of these things as part of in downtown manhattan? well, the map shows with certain assumptions about when speed and other factors with the devastation would be. of course, it is worse around ground zero and getting a little bit better as you go farther out but the estimate in this scientific journal is that this relatively small nuclear device would injured about one-half million people and killed over 600,000 people just from being set off in lower manhattan. of course, you would see similar devastation if one were to be set off your in washington. no, i don't mean to alarm anybody here, but i think we need to think about these kinds of dangers because they are not going away. as the iranian nuclear program accelerates, as pakistan destabilizes, these are very real possibilities that we have to think very hard about. rome was brought down by barbarians. we have to be very careful that we ourselves are not brought down by barbarians.
7:37 pm
i think the first defense is to understand the nature of the problem, and that is what i try to contribute this book, to show the kind of strategies that insurgents have employed over the centuries as well as the strategies that have been used to counter them. this is something we need to think about. insurgency is not going away, even after we are out of afghanistan this will remain the number one threat to we face. thank you. [applause] >> okay, ladies and gentlemen. we will now take questions. we have folks with the microphone. please raise your hand. i will let knowledge you. let the folks it to you with the microphone and identify yourself. all right. >> yes. thank you.
7:38 pm
where is rule of law fit into this? >> well, rule of law can be a very important part of establishing legitimacy. because, as i said, it is very hard to win with a pure scorched-earth strategy. even when you're willing to be as brutal as the nazis, they still did not manage to pacify the balkans in world war two. even if you're willing to be as cruel as the soviets, they still did not manage to pass -- pacify afghanistan, even though there were willing to kill a million people. because the nazis and the soviets offered nothing positive. they offered no reason why the people of yugoslavia the people of afghanistan would support them. they offer nothing but death and desolation, and that ultimately was not a winning strategy. i think the people do want to see is the rule of law, not necessarily our law, but their law. that is something that i think people respond positively to. if they see that the soldiers around them are enforcing the law rather than preying upon them, rather than stealing from
7:39 pm
them, rather than ripping their daughters, if they see that the soldiers are pulled in the law they're going to be much more likely to support the soldiers. suppled and the rule of law is, i would argue, a crucial moment of successful counterinsurgency. >> right here. >> robert price. office of secretary defense. had we do this cheap and easy? have done this before year not twice. counterinsurgency, long term, even after some of the immediate threats were taken down followed by extensive amounts of nation-building. yet to do that every time? is there a cheaper and easier way to do this? >> well, ideally you will not have to wage future counterinsurgencies by sending hundreds of thousands of american troops to foreign lands. ideally we would be able to
7:40 pm
partner with foreign troops in their own countries to enable them to get better, which is something that we have done with some degree of success in countries such as columbia or the philippines. we have seen that strategy backfired more recently were it turned out the troops returning on that overthrowing elected government. but to my mind a great template of how to do this successfully comes from somebody that we tend to forget these days, but we should remember, it would lansdale, the quiet american who was once a legendary figure. he was a former advertising man who joined the air force in the cia and was sent to the philippines in the late 1940's when they were facing a rebellion, one of the major communist uprising of the post-world war two time. and what he did was, he did not send an army to back him up. he simply drove out to the boondocks to get to know the people of the philippines. nasa and the embassy like semiofficial americans do today. he went out to figure out what was really going on. the most important thing that he did was identified a great
7:41 pm
leader who could leave the philippines out of this with some support. that was ramon, a filipino senator when he encountered in. he was pushed to make him the defense minister and then the president's. he was this great leader who routed out a lot of the corruption which was causing people to turn away from the philippine government. he ended the brutality on the part of the filipino army which was causing villagers to flee into the hands of the hunts. he established clean elections, and he basically took away all of the in the logical appeal that they could possibly have. this was an incredibly effective strategy and is something i want you to think about today because, for example, in afghanistan i think afghanistan is really suffered over the course of the last decade by not having great leaders, not having, as the previous questioner reminded estimable law. afghanistan, however, is going to have another election in
7:42 pm
2014, and we have a huge, huge stake in the outcome. you is going to succeed karzai? is it going to be somebody as we can pliable or will it be somebody more in the same mold will be honest, and corrupt, tough, a true leader that the people of afghanistan can respect? how would suggest you that we need our modern-day and replan skills who can truly understand the situation in afghanistan, when the trust and loyalty of key people and find an honest man. yes, they do exist, even in afghanistan. find an honest man and promote him as much as possible into the office of the presidency because that kind of lead can be worth more than an entire division of american troops. [indiscernible] >> i wanted to return to a point you made a few seconds ago about rule of law and debating whether our view of rule of law or the
7:43 pm
public view of rule of law and how that bins to what we're seeing right now. and more broadly across, you know have organizations that are portraying themselves as pseudo rule of law organizations. they support obviously what they claim to be culturally more appropriate to the region obviously, a hard-core interpretation that involves cutting people's hands off and tearing down shrines. so then the question becomes, is there a universal rule of law that is your main or should we just accept that what they are saying is a form of law that we might have to go another way. they portray themselves as a more relevant rule of law organization. >> well, i mean, we found in recent years is that when you have these fundamentalist islamist groups takeover areas and try to impose their rule of law, this code which is
7:44 pm
extremely puritanical and makes the puritans look like, easygoing vacationers by comparison, when they actually try to impose this code, even in die-hard conservative muslim areas it proves very unpopular. that was why they suffered a major backlash in 2007 because the people of the province did not like to be ruled by people who told them there would be executed for smoking a cigarette. that's why the taliban or not that hard to overthrow in 2001 because the people of afghanistan turned against this barbaric code that the taliban are trying to impose. and this is in iraq in afghanistan, hardly to of the most liberal, plus intelligent countries in the world. today i suspect you're seeing much the same thing happened in northern mali where the islamists have tried to impose a very brutal code, and i suspect it is now proving that not very popular. however, the reason why these
7:45 pm
groups can have enduring appeal is because there is not a good alternative. the problem that we face, for example in afghanistan is that brutal and unpopular as the taliban are, the government has often been worse because the government has not delivered any kind of justice. but the government delivers is a decision that goes to the highest bidder. and so as bad as they may be, there are less corrupt, and you will get in more or less honest judgment out of them which will then be enforced with barbaric severity. that is not the idea that people want, but it may be better than the alternative. i think the challenge that we face in countries such as molly or afghanistan or elsewhere is to try to build up a non fundamentalist institutions of governance and rule of law that will, in fact, deliver a modicum of justice, which is what the people want, but not to do it with a kind of barbaric severity that these islamist groups do it with. if we can do that i think we will be successful. >> the gentleman down there.
7:46 pm
>> thank you. the voice of america. we see the scorched-earth policy . the success. >> well, it is interesting, what has happened. as the power of the media has grown, as core storage strategies are becoming less successful. these days they can only work in places where nobody's paying attention. it worked in sri lanka. it worked more less recently for russia and chechnya because the world's attention was not focused. in libya could not he was trying to put down a rebellion, and there is no doubt in my mind that 100 years ago he would have succeeded. he did not this time because the attention of the world news media and the united states and all these international organizations focused on what he was doing. before he could come in and
7:47 pm
torched and gauzy and kill all the rebels we and our nato allies intervened to stop that. no, in the case of syria we have not intervened, but certainly other outside powers have. the rebels of been able to get support, for example, from the gulf states which keeps them from being simply swept off -- swept off the board. in turn he gets support from a run. and the moment the war is more less stalemated because both sides have some degree of support, but it is not overwhelming. very unpopular, but the insurgents have not been able to push him out of the weight. but -- and this goes back to a point was making earlier about the incredible importance of legitimacy. i would say for most syrians he lacks legitimacy, especially for the senate majority of the country because he is part of a minority. however, he does have support in the community. he does have support among some of the other minorities because they're afraid of what would happen if their work to take over. he is able to cling to power with a small degree of
7:48 pm
legitimacy left. the rebels, in turn, are arguably forfeiting some of their legitimacy by some of there excess is, by allowing extreme islamists to take a proper role in their ranks. and so, you know, the conflict is stalemated. this is, you know, a classic insurgency in counterinsurgency which i suspect at the end of the day will end as a victory for the insurgency. the problem is what is the country going to look like afterwards? governments are not that hard to overthrow. that is where we struggle. we will struggle even more. >> this gentleman right here. >> thank you very much. my name is tyler o'neill. a writer with the washington. i worked on the romney campaign in the fall. i was wondering. but jen the talks in his but no
7:49 pm
apology about soft power. he mentions that specifically as a weapon you can use against terrorists. a lot of money to foreign countries psst, and we are sending money to help hospitals. builds them, gets all the credit for helping the community. we are stuck. can we use of power to our advantage to combat and serves as a? >> we can use of power, but we have to do it more intelligently than we have today. it is mind-boggling how many tens of billions of dollars we have wasted in countries building white elephant projects of no earthly use and actually battling the insurgency. we would build hospitals or schools or electricity plants or water treatment plants. i'm not really sure why redoing all this. think it is something that i called the gratitude. counterinsurgency.
7:50 pm
if bill stephenson inner-city, guess what, they're going to plan for it, but the larger problem is if you don't have security it does not matter how much people like you, and not try to come over to your side of the going to get killed for doing it. they're not suicidal. they're not going to commit suicide because of the water feed the plant. you have to have basic security. to establish basic security you have to have men with guns on the streets 247. i mean, it's kind of obvious, but this is the asset to have a sense of what was implemented in 2007, the realization they can't just to drive by spirit you have to control the neighborhoods, protect the people, and at that point there will be willing to convert your side. sure, there is some spending that can be helpful, a jobs program is to put unemployed young men to work so they're not planting bombs, but at the end
7:51 pm
of the day it comes down to security. and a lot of runaway spending on public-works projects is not going to win a lot of counterinsurgencies. >> the gentleman and the first row. in the guy behind you. and we're probably going to run out of time. >> special forces and iraq. i was wondering if you could comment on some of the internal conflict in the military and the strategy going forward. i know being a part of an idea and be responsible for the same area that may be a conventional brigade would handle and having to deal with bell space, very different approaches to counterinsurgency. and so there's that aspect of it , but also the portion where special forces kind of take
7:52 pm
ownership. and it seems that especially toward the latter days we were kind of pushing to the back of the room. >> first, let me reiterate what i said earlier which is, think you for your service and the service of so many others in this room. but to answer your question, it's a good one. the army special forces, green berets have taken the lead role in unconventional warfare in dealing with guerrillas and, in fact, acting as guerrillas themselves. the conventional army, the army has been very resistant to that kind of mission. we have paid, i think, a very heavy price in our recent military history for the resistance. we want him to -- we went into vietnam with a fairly arrogant attitude on the part of some such as u.s. army chief of staff in the early 1960's a famously said commanded soldiers in the
7:53 pm
guerrillas, this notion that if we can fight a red army we don't have to worry about a realist. and back, guerrillas fired in a very different manner. the same armed forces that what the floor ultimately wound up losing to the viet cong. along the way however i think the army and marine corps learned a lot of very valuable lessons so that by the end of the vietnam war there were actually pretty formidable counter insurgents. in new what they were doing. the tragedy is what happened afterwards because in the counterinsurgency manuals were literally thrown in the wastepaper basket. they said, we're done with that. we never want to do this again. that's good back to fighting the red army. and so when the army went into afghanistan, the big army, not talking about special forces, the big army was not well prepared. i think we paid a heavy price for the fact we did not even have an army marine field manual on counterinsurgency until the end of 2006. along the way to getting back to what i said a second ago, the army is an adaptive, learning
7:54 pm
organization that can figure out what is going on. along the way all these in ceos and junior officers figured out what to do. did not have any manual. the figured it out. the u.s. army marine corps in the last decade have become, perhaps, the finest counterinsurgency forced the world as ever seen. what these young officers and in seals were able to do in the field is mind-boggling because they're manipulating so many different lines of operations to get these effects. incredibly good doing this kind of stuff which is a lot harder than just laying down a lot of general precepts. you have to apply them to a very specific cultural context. they understand that cultural concept in a way they did not at the beginning of the war. my concern is what is going to happen now that we are out. i hear a lot of people saying, thank goodness that's over with. we never want to do that again. let's get back to -- well, there is no red army, but we will find somebody like the red army if there would be obliging enough
7:55 pm
to come out and let us walk in. well, you know, i wished there were people, more leaders out there as stupid as saddam hussein, but i am concerned there may not be because, you know, saddam was very obliging, twice putting these giant tank armies in the desert with big flags on them. hit me signs so we could annihilate them. i am concerned there may not be other leaders like that i'm sorry to say you're willing to do that. i suspect our adversaries have learned from the experience of saddam who wound up getting killed for his troubles. and so i suspect our adversaries have learned that it is smarter to fight as with the regular tactics. my concern is that is what we're going to see more of in the future, and i am sorry that the army and marine corps are going to be in for a big nasty surprise next time they're asked to fight another unconventional warfare because of concern they're going to forget the lessons they have learned at such great cost of the last decade. >> on sorry. and going to change my mind.
7:56 pm
of want to ask max to take two more minutes to do closing. and i would like your stay in place for a second and let him get out the door because he is willing to stay for couple of minutes to sign some books, but he has another appointment that he has to get to that is time sensitive. so i give you the final two minutes to wrap up and leave us with closing thoughts. >> well, i would like to leave you, essentially, with where i started witches by reminding you that the way that we think about unconventional warfare is all messed up. it is the norm. it is not going away, and we better be ready for it. to reiterate what i just said, we will pay a heavy price if we're not. our enemies are certainly adapting to new ways to attack us, and they're not going to do it on the conventional battlefield standing toe to toe with the finest in mitchell forced the world as ever seen. they're going to attack a response, whether it be using weapons of mass destruction, using cyber weapons, whether it's going to be staging all sorts of fiendish terrorist
7:57 pm
plots and hit and run raids on hostage-taking some places like algeria. this is what warfare is all about. we're never going to achieve some platonic ideal of conventional warfare because there have been very few of those wars throughout history, and there will be along the future. like our not, we had better get ready. i fear and suspect the future is going to look a lot like the past, which means that there is going to be a lot of unconventional warfare in our future. >> thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> for more information visit the authors website. >> kenneth macke is a law professor at harvard university and author of the new book representing. tell me about your book. >> my book is a collective biography of six african american civil rights lawyers who practice law during the era of segregation. it's about the collective
7:58 pm
struggles with civil rights and racial identities. it's about the fact that to be an african american civil rights lawyer in this era i argue in the book is to be caught between the black-and-white world. both blacks and whites want things. and identify with these particular lawyers. so to be as kind of a lawyer, thurgood marshall and people like him was to not just be an african-american lawyer. >> how difficult was it for an african american to become a lawyer during this time? >> is not difficult to become a lawyer. you have to go to law school like everybody else. it does cost money. but it is very difficult to succeed as a lawyer because no african-american lawyer is going to have white clients to more very few of them will have white clients. most black people don't have a lot of money. if you have money and you're
7:59 pm
black you hire a lawyer because, of course, when lawyers will be more effective in a segregated society. very difficult to succeed him even though it is not difficult to become. >> why these six men? >> they are -- they have something in common. they're all one generation. they all wear the foot soldiers, as you will, of the -- there were all the legal arm of the civil rights movement. so just as the civil-rights movement was getting going in the 50's and 60's, these particular lawyers were really at the apex of their careers. they became the legal arm of the civil rights movement. >> kenneth macke, author of a new book representing the race, the creation of the civil rights lawyer published by harvard university press. thank you. >> thank you. >> and alan book tv, supreme court justice sandra so, your recounts the life of her childhood in the bronx to her education at princeton and yale

Book TV
CSPAN January 26, 2013 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

Education. Non-fiction books and authors.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Afghanistan 14, Us 7, France 5, Algeria 5, Washington 5, U.s. 5, Barbarians 4, Rome 4, Algiers 4, Vietnam 3, United States 3, Philippines 3, Bolivia 3, Malaysia 3, North America 3, Kenneth Macke 2, Russia 2, Steve 2, Britain 2, Downtown Manhattan 2
Network CSPAN
Duration 01:00:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 17 (141 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 1/27/2013